The manager of Dumbarton's animal rescue and rehoming centre insists that while demand for Scottish SPCA services is higher than ever before, the figures for their centre are very encouraging.

In 2018, the centre cared for 769 animals, 18 per cent less than the previous year, but despite this they still managed to rehome more animals.

In 2017, 44 stray animals came into their care and they reunited 140 of those with their owners, while last year the centre took in 90 strays and managed to send 85 of them back to their families.

Manager Judy Button said: “There has been a rise in the need for our services across the whole of Scotland but the figures for our centre are very encouraging.

“We expect demand for our services to remain high, but with an unrivalled team of dedicated staff and plans to continue to invest in education and to keep tackling the animal welfare issues, we are optimistic about the future.

"We are building a sensory garden for our dogs and we are looking forward to other upcoming improvements to our centre.”

In addition to attending incidents and rehoming animals, the SSPCA focus heavily on education and in 2018, 5,906 children took part in their free education programme, while their teams visited 27 primary schools across West Dunbartonshire.

Dumbarton's MSP Jackie Baillie, who visits the rehoming centre in Milton every year, praised the efforts of staff.

She told the Reporter: “I know that their dedicated teams of staff and volunteers work incredibly hard to help as many animals as possible every single day.

“Their education programme is so beneficial for young people right across the country and I am grateful that they continue to expand this programme and build on their, already, successful work.

“I will continue to support the team at Milton and the whole charity this year, and look forward to seeing their programmes expand.”

Nationally demand for the charity's services is at an all-time high and the charity responded to 90,000 incidents in 2018.

Across the organisation's nine rescue and rehoming centres in Scotland, 5,068 animals were rehomed last year and they helped to reunite 948 lost pets with their owners.

The Scottish SPCA was also successful in 90 court cases last year, up from 70 in 2017, which resulted in 45 bans, including three for life, 17 community payback orders and 25 fines.

Read more: WATCH: Adorable Finn shows his loving nature at Milton animal home

The charity also issued 664 animal welfare notices and its Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates serious animal welfare abuses, took on 529 jobs in 2018, up from 332 in 2017.

Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive of the Scottish SPCA, said: "Demand for our services is higher than ever.

"Including wildlife, we attended to the equivalent of more than 240 animal welfare reports per day last year and this lays bare the scale of the work we do.

"Our incredibly dedicated rehoming centre teams and inspectorate work so hard to ensure animals in need get the care and support they deserve.

"Our efforts to tackle the multi-million-pound illegal puppy trade and other serious animal abuses have led to a large increase in reports of puppy farms, animal fighting and other crimes due to increased awareness among the general public."

"Campaigns such as Say No to Puppy Dealers and the Scottish Government's Buy A Puppy Safely have helped to educate people on the trade, as evidenced by the increased reports of puppy farms we've taken.

"Whilst we aim to disrupt and stop these offences, we are confident we are helping to deliver systemic change through our educational work and our positive progress engaging with the Scottish Government to deliver improvements in animal welfare legislation."